What is an Applications Operation Engineer?

An Application Operations Engineer helps to design, implement, and update applications that support or improve business operations. Your responsibilities are to create custom features for DVLA systems, deploy new tools and software, monitor and analyse issues of efficiency, and develop ways to address those problems so that the organisation can function better. An Application Operations Engineer supports, manages and maintains a single application or a suite of applications.

What transferrable skills does an AOE need?

You will need the following skills for this role, although the level of expertise for each will vary, depending on the role level:

  • Incident management. You can coordinate the response to incident reports, ensuring relevant prioritisation and detail to allow effective investigation. You can identify the correct procedures or channels for resolution and monitor resolution activity and progress updates to customers. You understand the relevant change management tools and processes.
  • Ownership and initiative. You can take ownership of problems and proactively resolve technical problems, ensuring that technical solutions continue to meet business requirements. You know how to take full accountability for actions taken and decisions made.
  • Problem management. You can understand and identify problems, analysing and helping to identify the appropriate solution. You can classify and prioritise problems, document their causes and implement remedies.
  • User focus. You understand users and can identify who they are and what their needs are, based on evidence. You can translate user stories and propose design approaches or services to meet these needs. You can engage in meaningful interactions and relationships with users. You put users first and can manage competing priorities.

What experience is useful for someone wanting to become an AOE?

A willingness to learn technical detail, as well as curiosity and tenacity in resolving issues and implementation. Understanding software and infrastructure, as well as the impacts to users (internal or external) of a service being offline. It also helps to have a continual improvement mindset, as technology changes and systems should stay as current as possible.

What does a typical day look like?

A typical day can vary significantly, and no two days are similar! Some days there are no issues and so you will be able to implement some changes to improve a service, brush up on some online training, or create some documentation so others in your team can benefit from your experience.

Other days are far more reactionary, where there may be issues from planned work, or from a change outside of your area that means you spend all day troubleshooting where an issue is. While this sounds stressful, this is often the most fun element of the job as people come together during an incident and it is very satisfying.

How do you become an Applications Operations Engineer?

By joining either the Operations Centre or the Applications Extended Days teams.

Operations Centre is the entry level and involves 24×7 shift working. To join that team, a willingness to learn technical skills, as well as good communication skills are needed. The Operations Centre cover a lot of activities such as managing incidents, reporting, restarting applications and stakeholder management.

Applications Extended Days are also a shift team, but work 6am-2pm, or 2pm-10pm on a rota. This team is more technical in nature and deal with applications in more detail than the Operations Centre. Useful experience in this area is a support background, as well as a technical lean towards software development.​​​​​

DDat Skills Snapshot

The table below shows the skills required at each level:

SkillJunior Application Operations
Application Operations EngineerSenior Application Operations EngineerLead Application Operations Engineer
1Asset and Configuration Managementn/aWorkingWorkingWorking
2Availability and Capacity Managementn/aWorkingWorkingWorking
3Change Managementn/aAwarenessWorkingPractitioner
4Continual Service Improvementn/aAwarenessWorkingWorking
5Incident ManagementAwarenessAwarenessWorkingPractitioner
6Ownership and InitiativeAwarenessWorkingWorkingPractitioner
7Problem ManagementAwarenessAwarenessWorkingWorking
8Service Focusn/aWorkingWorkingWorking
9Service Management Framework Knowledgen/aAwarenessAwarenessWorking
10Technical Specialismn/aAwarenessWorkingPractitioner
11Technical Understandingn/aAwarenessWorkingWorking
13User FocusAwarenessWorkingWorkingPractitioner